Launchpad’s Avondale House resident Alex Rowe has stepped up his search for employment and is destined for a career in the construction industry after successfully completing his City & Guilds Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Construction and Civil Engineering.
 
Alex, 48, has completed a five-week Building Heroes course which was delivered by training and education specialist Learning Curve Group. Alex was one of seven veterans that have graduated on the course and will now sit his final exam to gain his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, which will enable him to find a career in the industry.
 
Launchpad provides vital accommodation and support to veterans who have fallen on hard times and have found the transition to civilian life tough. The charity works with local and national employment and training providers to help resident veterans to find employment.
 
Alex has lived at Avondale House for just over a year and joined the Army in 1996, serving in the 40 Field Regiment Royal Artillery, The Lowland Gunners in Germany for 18 months.
 
He said: “When I left the Army, there wasn’t any support available and I ended up in a life of crime and on the streets of Scotland. I ended up serving time in prison but thankfully, found Launchpad when I was released and haven’t looked back. I can’t thank them enough for the support they have given to me and continue to give to the other veterans.
 
“I am hoping the course will open doors for me and give me opportunities to find a career in the construction industry. I’m a plumber by trade but I wanted to challenge myself and do something new.
 
“The course has been excellent and combined classroom and workshop experience. We’ve learned everything from laying pavements, kerbs, channels and drainage, working concrete and excavating holes and trenches. My dream would be to work on tunneling for HS2 which would be fantastic.”
 
Helen Hugill, Academy Lead at Building Heroes, said: “Building Heroes is dedicated to supporting veterans and service leavers throughout the UK. Alex always had a smile on his face and was a pleasure to work with. He was very focused on completing the course and progressing into employment. If anyone is interested in our course at Blaydon then please contact us through our website.”
 
Sam Hughes, Assistant Manager (Projects) at Launchpad’s Avondale House, said: “As part of their transition to civilian life and support to our residents, we have a long-standing partnership with Building Heroes. The five-week course is ideal for veterans who are looking for a career in the construction industry and Alex has really excelled in this course. This qualification is a huge step forward in his transition and we will continue to support him and all other residents into employment.”
 
The fully-funded programme was delivered by Learning Curve Group, in partnership with Costain at their premises at Blaydon Training Academy in Tyne & Wear. As part of the course, employers present employment opportunities within their respective organisations which veterans can apply for.
 
Avondale House in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne comprises 33 self-contained one-bedroom flats and communal areas for former serving personnel and their partners.

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